"Oh my gosh Payal, you won’t believe who I just saw!!" There’s nothing more exciting than picking up the phone and hearing your good friend screaming that through the other end! 

New York Fashion Week has been in full force for the last few days and everyday I ask my dear friend/colleague  who is currently working in the Big Apple for any celebrity sightings. No luck…until today that is!

For the last few months, I have absolutely enjoyed living vicariously through her adventures as she takes on the highs and lows from the city that never sleeps.  Today, was more than just hearing about a celebrity sighting.  Today, I didn’t talk to a co-worker or team member, today I really connected with a friend. On a phone. “What a concept” - as she would say.

***I have to interrupt this post for public service announcement***

We really do live in a world where socially connecting via phone is as archaic as writing letters. Yes, Tim Cook just unveiled Apple’s latest and greatest and thankfully the “touch to talk ” feature is still available. Whew! Good to know we have not completely succumbed to communicating via Emails, iMessage and Social Media - #omgarealphone, #omgicanhearyou 

***I will now return you back to my thoughts at hand***

Now that we have established a real conversation took place, I cannot explain in mere words the joy and excitement of talking to Tricia for the remaining 45 minutes of our conversation.  When I can stay on the phone for 45 minutes with any person, you know that’s a real friend.  Once we had caught up on our daily celebrity dish we carried on to every topic essential for a good “catch up”…see below

  • NYC happenings (obviously)
  • Work - even though we do that while at work
  • What to eat for dinner 
  • Shopping
  • Men…pause…I definitely do not recall talking about the NYC dating pool nor my husband…WHOA..how did we miss this
  • Working out - no need for gyms in the Big Apple, just hauling your groceries home works your triceps, biceps, back, legs, quads - you get the idea 

I’m never good at good byes, whether they are in person or on the phone, so once we said “talk to you later” I took a second and just smiled. A smile that explained everything i was feeling at that moment from talking to Tricia - content, full of love and grateful that I have such amazing people in my life.  :)  

No Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks here, just one awesome Longhorn Bride saying “I do” to her Midwestern Groom.  

And so, that brings us to the final epic wedding in our family…for this year that is.  A few weeks back Harry and Bansari tied the knot.  As with every wedding in our family, it was nothing short of an epic event.  My personal favorite highlights below: 

  • It’s not a wedding until you have a Bride vs. Groom flip cup, oh yes, we did and yes Bansari schooled Harry in a heartbeat 
  • Let’s just say our family gave a while new meaning to D.A.R.E - just say NO program - that is all
  • Breaking into the Groom’s room the night before the wedding and taking snap shots in his wedding attire and stealing his shoes - check and check
  • "Baby Bye Bye Bye" - Forget the Harlem Shake or the Cupid Shuffle, it’s not a party until you have a throwback to the classic boy bands…and so…we did
  • Nothing and I mean nothing, warms my heart more than to see a little “Texas Love” in Californiaaa
  • After the Party it’s the hotel lobby…nooo…after the party it’s the 3rd floor conference room of the Radisson.  It’s fair to say this bullet needs it’s own paragraph.  No really, it does.  Why…anything that involves grown boys dancing to Sanedo, doing garba and putting on a table top performance of Diliwale girlfriend has to be in a league all it’s own.  

For the last couple of family weddings, once departure day rolled around it was sad to see everyone leave but the next event was already lined up so there was always something to look forward too.  This time, I did leave with a bit of a heavy heart, I wasn’t sure when I’d get to see my family again. As I always say about our time together, the days are hectic, time is too short, but a good time is always had.  Congrats again to Harry and Bansari! 

New Year’s Resolutions are not my thing, but I think it never hurts to pause for a moment and see how 2014 is coming along. And so we have Payal’s Self Assessment.  

I knew I’d be up for some challenges this year when I survived New Year’s Eve on a cruise in the middle of the Bosphorus in Istanbul - sick with food poisoning, green in the face from motion sickness, fever and frozen to the bones.  It’s amazing what you can force your body to endure if you put your mind to it.  - By no means am I saying I’d like such a challenge again, let’s be real, I’m only 5ft tall, barely 100lbs, I may not survive.  

I’ve realized, I’m a bit spunky, goofy and a total child at heart and you know what? I’m totally okay with it.  I’ve learned to stop taking life so seriously, because I’m not a deep in thought melodramatic person. Dramatic - yes - especially when it involves any form of bugs or furry friends but I leave the melodrama to my Soap Operas and Bollywood movies.   I laugh like my 4 year old nephew and have no shame in shopping in the “kids” section of Macy’s.  On what level is ANYONE going to take me seriously…clearly I am not - so why you.

I could really work on trying to grow a little more. I need that extra inch or two so I can stop having to pay for alterations on all my pants. If one must insist - there maybe be some areas for me to work on:

  • Patience has never been my strong point - Thank you Jaykishan for forcing me to learn patience - kicking and screaming that is :) but I am learning it
  • Worry Less - oh yes, this child at heart tends to worry over the most ridiculous things i.e. the other day I passed a person with a flat tire on the road and kept thinking “what if no one stops to help them, will they find a ride home or get help” Yes, I totally could have stopped and lent a helping hand but I’m not trying to make the 5’oclock news headlines for any highway attacks. 
  • Washing my Car -That’s right, I seriously put this on my list of areas to improve.  For as long as I can remember, my dad always taught me to keep a clean car.  We keep our homes clean and organized why should our car be any different. I may not have the newest or flashiest model car around but there is a pride in a clean car that goes far beyond just shiny tires and spotless windows. So yes, I need to wash my car more often.  
  • I asked Jaykishan for this bullet point - he stated - I need to not let my emotions build up until I become my own version of Mt. Helen. Soooo I suppose when I’m upset, I should just let it out, instead of letting all that lava build up. He’s probably saying this for his own safety but we’ll take it into consideration :)   

But in all seriousness, I could really really use the extra inch or two in height, I really must stop being on a first name basis with the local tailor. 

Aside from my personal assessment, 2014 has been wonderful to date.  I’ve travelled a bit, seen hard work pay off in the office space, avoided any serious illnesses and had good times with family and friends.  Anything more and I’d be getting a little selfish.

Another year means another family wedding…of epic proportions.  Last year Pooja and Vinay gave March Madness a whole new definition.  This year Arjun and Versha took exotic to a new level, as titled - their wedding was “exotically epic. From elephants to snake charmers and everything in between as cliche as at it sounds “this wedding had it all”.  

I could story tell every event into the early morning hours.  Instead, I’ll sum up what was three unforgettable days into my Cliff’s Notes version of bullet points.  

  • Forget Pete’s Dualing Pianos - the Srivastava’s hosted a Sangeet night that put Bollywood to shame.  Full on competition between the two sides, sitting across from each other.  For all my Bollywood friend’s take a trip down memory lane to the Hum Apke Hain Kaun scene jamming out to “Samne Samdhan Hai” 
  • Haldi Ceremony with a Twist - oh yes, at a time in the stone ages it may have been that only married women and “bhabis” could put “haldi” on the groom.  Not anymoreeee - all of us sisters got to join in on making Arjun “fair and lovely” for his bride.  But wait, there’s more, forget the moms, the bhabis and the sisters. Arjun’s brothers and brothers in laws joined in on the ceremony as well. Equal opportunity people, equal opportunity.  Needless to say, Arjun came out looking very “glowing” for his bride.  
  • Special shout out to Arjun for being the best brother ever and waiting for me to get back from sister duties before starting the Haldi Ceremony - made my heart melt - every wedding has to have a soft spot moment - this was mine 
  • Bharaat 101 - In the event Versha were to have any confusion as to where her handsome groom was, Arjun made sure to arrive in style.  By style, I mean, perched atop a 2 ton elephant with his jaan dancing in front of him. Our elephant was nothing short of a high demand hollywood actor.  Striking poses at every chance and tapping a foot to the beat - Turn Down for What! 
  • Major kudos to our incredible DJ, not only did he get all of us in the bharaat warmed up but made sure and taught our diverse crowd a few Bollywood dance moves as well.  Cue - “screw the light bulb” and “jersey fist pump”   
  • Wedding with a view - whats that? Oh that’s right, the backdrop for the wedding was a scene straight out a Hollywood Chick Flick - gorgeous sunny day, ocean views, Mandap set on top of a hill at the Ritz - an insanely good looking couple tying the knot  - no big deal - oh forget it - its a huge deal, let’s be real most of us will never attend a wedding this beautiful again - yes I’m biased and quite clearly very dramatic
  • Reception of Exotic Proportions - as with most receptions, we had entrances, speeches, a toast, side of belly dancers and snake charmers.  No,the reception did not take place in a far east land but for a moment the ballroom was transformed into our own version of the best Morocco could offer. My highlight however, Texas Two-Stepping it to some good ole country music! And now, we have seen it all.  

As always, the days were hectic, time was too short but we have memories for a lifetime! Congrats again Arjun and Versha!

Before I begin my entry, I must make note that it appears I took a involuntary Sabbatical from my blog since my Turkey trip.  It’s no joke when people say “time flies”. Didn’t realize it has been months since the last time I wrote. Let’s see how rusty I have got!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • 6 wedding outfits - packed
  • Matching Jewelry and Bangles - sorted and organized
  • Endless Bindi options - extra glue in tow 
  • India size suitcase - zipped and packed to the max

No, I’m not packing for a Royal Wedding - we missed the RSVP deadline for Prince William’s and Prince Harry can’t seem to decide if he wants to settle down or not, so who knows when that will happen. BUT, I am all set for another Epic Patel Family wedding! Arjun and Versha will finally be tying the knot!  

Oh yes, believe it or not, little Nintendo playing Arjun is all grown up and has won his Princess. I guess there was something to learn from Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3. 

A wedding in our family means: 

  • Epic proportions of…everything - Kimye? Child Please
  • Hijacked phones - Sorry Jack Bauer, we’ve got you beat
  • Family Time - Modern Family meet the Brady Bunch
  • Fun and Games - Olympic Trash Pong winners

With so many of us living all over the States, these family events are magnets that bring us all together.  The days are hectic, time is always too short but the memories last a lifetime. And on that sentimental note, time to go get this brother married!